[Read our 25th anniversary retrospective tribute to 'Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1' by Jesse Ducker here]
On the legendary Gang Starr’s classic 1990 single “Jazz Thing”—which appeared on the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s film Mo’ Better Blues—Guru, who passed away in 2010, predicted that “Jazz ain’t the past, the music’s gonna last / And as the facts unfold, remember who foretold / The ‘90s will be the decade of a jazz thing.”
Guru would make good on his astutely prophetic vision a few years later when he introduced his inventive Jazzmatazz project in 1993. Featuring collaborations with jazz icons like Roy Ayers, Donald Byrd, Ronnie Jordan, Branford Marsalis, Courtney Pine, and Lonnie Liston Smith, the series’ inaugural volume celebrated hip-hop’s inextricable musical and spiritual connection with jazz.
Released 25 years ago this past week, the landmark album also showcased sophisticated soul sirens N’Dea Davenport (of Brand New Heavies fame) and Carleen Anderson, as well as the lyrically gifted French emcee MC Solaar. Guru released three additional Jazzmatazz volumes through 2007.
As an extension of its ongoing “Respect the Classics” series, which has recently been rebranded under the "Urban Legends" moniker, Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) has recently reissued Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1 as a triple vinyl package. The trio of LPs include the original album, instrumental version, and compilation of hard-to-find remixes, replete with enhanced artwork.
If you don’t already own this gem on wax, snag your copy of this deluxe set now, and then check out a few throwback videos from the album below, including a newly unveiled lyric video for "No Time to Play."